Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Starve the snails... not.

If I hear the phrase, "feed the rabbits... starve the snails" again, I am going to become uncharitable. Of course we should celebrate and reward teachers who use instructional technologies well. But this phrase implies a mid nineties mind-set, where technology is a limited commodity, and can't be given to all classrooms, so you reward early adopters, friends of the administration, etc. In 2007, technology should be available to all students and teachers, and its use should be articulated, with a mechanism for holding all teachers accountable. To be a "snail" (an educator who cannot or will not use technology at a professional level appropriate to his/her discipline) is simple malpractice. But... most teachers labeled in this way are labeled unfairly. Before adjudicating a teacher as " technology reluctant," we need to ask several questions:
  1. Are the systems reliable?
  2. Are they easy to use (comprehensible to ordinary teachers?)
  3. Is there a compelling instructional reason to use them?
  4. Is technical help available on-site or within the same class period?
Training is important only if the above conditions are met. If they aren't, you can't assume that technologically "trained" staff members have the capacity to perform. And you shouldn't blame them. The cause of their dysfunction could be you.

No comments: